"This is such new territory for NZ. It feels a bit Star Trek."

That was then-Government Digital Services Minister Clare Curran texting entrepreneur Derek Handley after he was told his application to be chief technology officer was successful.

"Yes! Well, when nothing is sure, everything is possible ... ," replied Handley, quoting English novelist and biographer Margaret Drabble.

The rest of the messages, in a cache released today by Handley, are much more routine.


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After a text from Curran in March letting Handley know the email address where he could inquire about the job, the pair didn't communicate for months.

In later messages, Handley's enthusiasm for the role comes through clearly.

"If there's anything else you need to ask or for me to do, for example audition for Dancing with the Stars, hit a hole in one or write an epic poem in the style of the Iliad or Odyssey on why I could do this job — just let me know and I'll get right on it ;)," he texted Curran before being awarded the position.

Handley also released emails and text messages with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

As well as a text on August 20 in which Handley expressed his excitement for the CTO job (she didn't reply) the pair communicated in April, when the entrepreneur told Ardern he was moving back to New Zealand.

"A big draw card is to help and support you in any way possible. Your fresh leadership is a reason enough," Handley said.

Ardern said the pair should catch up when Handley was back in the country "for good".


Handley also told Ardern that a number of people had urged him to "seriously consider this CTO", to which she didn't respond.

In June, after submitting his application, he emailed Ardern: "Let's see how that process pans out independently — whatever happens will be the right thing.

"But if that role isn't in the stars, then I would LOVE to meet up in September and revisit some ideas and thinking when my wife and I are back in New Zealand! I'm so keen to come home and help you."

Ardern told Parliament last week: "My best recollection is I received a text message I didn't directly engage in. For all other platforms I would want to go back and check, but I don't recall directly communicating in regards to that role."